We decided to walk to the falls as Rob only lived about a mile away and we weren’t sure how easy it’d be for us to look after our bikes. The change in pace was enjoyable and. after popping in to a tourist information office where we learnt about all the things we could do, decided to just look at the falls rather than spend what on our budget were exorbitant prices.
Maybe we weren’t paying attention, but there seemed to be a definite lack of signage pointing us to the falls. I found that confusing although it fit with my observation that North America doesn’t have as many signs directing you to places as the UK or Asia. Maybe it’s because of the sheer dominance of the car or maybe they expect people to know where they’re going but, if I didn’t have my GPS, I would find it annoying.
When we eventually made it down to the falls I found my jaw dropping not as far as I expected. Sure, the falls are big with a good amount of water flowing over but I wasn’t wowed. It was beautiful and I don’t regret coming through but it wasn’t awesome. I’m not sure why that was the case, maybe it was the ridiculous number of people, the massive commercialisation or maybe we just didn’t get the full experience having decided not to ride the Maid of the Mist or pay for any of the ways to get closer, but it was a feeling that C shared. I couldn’t see how Niagara was such a honeymoon spot as, even spending lots of money, I’d struggle to come up with an itinerary for more than a couple of days.
Back at Rob’s, we met our host, his roommate Joe and a Polish guy couchsurfing called Bartosz. Rob was born in Hungary, but moved to Canada 12 years ago to work. He still visits Hungary for a weekend here and there, but has more tying him to Canada now. The idea of a weekend trip to Hungary was bizarre for both C and I, but he said that it works well for jet lag and gives him the time he needs to see people and not have to take days off work.
Bartosz was in Canada on business. He had been to a conference and was now spending a couple of weeks exploring. He was an experienced couchsurfer and had heard from some people who had had negative experiences with it which was good to balance ours. All our experiences with couchsurfing and warmshowers have been overwhelmingly positive. We have got to share experiences with people from a variety of backgrounds and got to learn about them and talk about us. As we explain to the people who host us, this trip would be a lot less intersting if we spent every night camping. C and I ride together all day and if there were no interactions outside of that it would have been a very different experience and we would have felt isolated. Yes, we are at the point where we know how the other is going to answer a question because we’ve heard it so many times, but that’s not a problem.
After Rob’s friend Helena came over, we had delicious barbequed kebabs which Joe had prepared. The rest of the night just flew by as we exchanged stories and talked. It was soon 10:30 when Rob invited me, C and Bartosz to get in his car as he would drive us back to the falls to see them illuminated. It was wonderful to see and we got to see other parts of the town that we had missed. Both the old downtown which was in the early stages of being rejuvenated and an even more commercialised area that was as brightly lit up as Vegas had been.